Never say Pete Sixsmith is a reactionary old grump. He may like Brian Matthew, old-fashioned football with short back and sides, music-free terraces and fans who have at least some idea of the geographical location of their chosen clubs. But – oops, we’ve just realised there are no buts …
That’s the first set of fixtures out of the way; only 37 more left before we can take a well-earned break from the rigours of the self-styled ”best league in the world”.
What have we learned from this opening salvo? Well, neither Sunderland nor West Brom will be challenging for a Champions League place at the end of the season.
There will not be a worse hair style than that of Remy Cabella (aka “the new Yohan Cabaye and saviour of the Mags”) on display in the Premier League this season and Leicester City deserve to be relegated immediately for having some clown banging a drum all game.
The pundits, of whom I am one, seem to agree that it is a two horse race between Manchester “Big Horse” City and poor, little horse Chelsea. Both won convincingly away from home and both appear to have bought well in the transfer window. I thought Danny Murphy’s analysis of Fernando on Match of the Day 2 was excellent and far superior to Mark Lawrenson and his amusing quips.
I tuned into 5 Live last night to hear Lawro and his pontifications on Chelsea and Burnley. As a former Preston North End man, it must be difficult for him to see the Clarets in the top league while his Lilywhites languish in the third level, but he did make every effort not to be too condescending – not an easy feat for Lawro.
Aren’t nicknames like Clarets and Lilywhites far better than modern rubbish like Eagles and, erm, Black Cats? Let’s go back to calling Chelsea the Pensioners, Palace the Glaziers and MK Dons the Nobodies. Bring back tradition (but thank heavens no one ever calls us the Rokerites any more- Ed).
Anyway, after scoring a reasonable number of points on University Challenge, I gave my full attention to the Burnley game and deduced that Chelsea seem quite a good side. They dominated possession and the names Fabregas, Diego Costa and Schulle were used far more often than Ings, Jutkiewicz and Jones.
City appeared to win far more comfortably than the score line suggests at the Sports Direct on Sunday. Interesting that they can do nothing but win on Tyneside and nothing but lose on Wearside. We await their arrival in December with eager anticipation.
Arsenal and Liverpool, the journalists’ dream combination, both struggled to beat sides that are expected to be in the bottom quartile of the league. However, the tactical genius that is Wenger and the meat-queue jumping Rogers will probably guide their expensively assembled teams to a higher position than Gus will get us to.
Arsenal have their latest saviour in Sanchez, following on from Arshavin (who he? – Another Ed), Carzola (gets the occasional game) and Ozil, all three of who made their debuts against Sunderland. At least Sanchez was spared that so he may do well.
Jordan Henderson’s presence in the Liverpool team at least gives me some interest in their progress. I rated him at Eppleton, I rated him at the SoL and I rate him at Anfield. They are a much nicer club now that the appalling Suarez has sloped off to Barcelona.
Having read page after page after page of how Louis van Gaal (with a hard G as in grim or grotty or God help us if the media don’t give us a rest on this) is a tactical genius who makes Poyet, Pellegrini and Pardew look like footballing pygmies (ok, I’ll give you the last one), I am now reading page after page after page telling me why he isn’t quite as clever or as shrewd as I was led to believe by the same scribes three weeks ago.
Few things give greater pleasure to the fans of the also ran Premier League teams than Manchester United fans spitting feathers all the way back to Bristol, Bournemouth and Bradford. Welcome to our world, guys.
According to those sat in comfy seats in the Salford studios, nobody will be relegated this year apart from Burnley. Villa, Palace, QPR will all be good enough to stop up. Even Sunderland should have a better season – although for us, 14th, a Cup Final and a Great Escape is probably as good as it gets.
However, it is clear that clubs who encourage artificial noise making are in line for relegation. What did Fulham and Norwich City have in common last year – apart from the fact that they were rubbish? They gave fans those dreadful clappers which they were encouraged to use whenever they looked like scoring. As a result of this, they were relegated – although appointing awful managers and wasting money on useless Dutch and Greek strikers might have had a bit to do with it.
And now Leicester City pitch up with a smirking clown banging a drum. With the demise of Bolton, Wigan and Portsmouth I thought we had got rid of the skin bashers but it appears that Leicester do not want to be taken seriously as a club, so they have one. By the looks of it, he has his own little alcove where he can inspire the crowd to the heights of apathy with his senseless banging. Crowds make a noise because of what they see and feel, not because some half wit bangs a drum or waves some clappers.
I feel a headache coming on so off for a lie down. Maybe when I wake up, we will have signed Borini. Just call me Rip Van Sixsmith …
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